‘I Hear Her Screams': Man Recalls Motorcycle Crash 1 Years Later

It's been a long, tough battle for Randy Ruelle, who was hit while riding his motorcycle nearly one year ago. 

Sitting in his wheelchair inside St. Francis Hospital after visiting with his doctor, he knows it is still far from over.

"I don't sleep at night because of it. Because of the trauma of the accident. I hear her screams," Ruelle said.

Ruelle and his fiancee, Caroline Mcallister, were on a motorcycle heading back home on I-91 in Enfield when they were hit on June 13, 2016.

"He drove over the back of our bike. He killed Caroline instantly. I tried grabbing her to pull her in front of the bike because I heard her scream. I turned around, and when I tried to grab her, that's when she was thrown off the bike. I guess the SUV hit me, and he threw me 100 yards down the highway. And he drove down the highway with my bike stuck under the car and ran me over and dragged me a mile down the highway with me holding on to the front bumper while I was stuck underneath the car. He broke my face, my ribs, pretty much every bone in my body," Ruelle said.

When Ruelle came to, he was at St. Francis Hospital with his mom by his side, holding his hand. He said he had no memory of what happened.

"They told me Caroline died two weeks later and I didn't believe them. I didn't -- I didn't know," Ruelle said.

X-Rays showing broken bones and metal plates reveal just some of the pain Ruelle has had to endure. He said he flatlined four times, had a stroke, ended up in a coma for more than 30 days and has dealt with 27 surgeries with at least two more to go. He said he's lost the ability to smell or taste and has short-term memory loss.

"Thank God for St. Francis Hospital. They saved my life," Ruelle said. "I want to meet everybody in the trauma room that saved my life. It means a lot to me. It does mean a lot to me."

The person police said is responsible for the crash, 27-year-old Brett Verona, faces several charges including operating under the influence of drugs/alcohol, second degree manslaughter, evading responsibility and second degree assault.

Ruelle said he believes the charges are far from enough, especially when learning Verona already made bond.

"He shouldn't be out of jail. He should be sitting in jail. He killed somebody. He killed someone. He almost killed me. He put me in this wheelchair," Ruelle said.

Despite his anger, Ruelle said he's continuing to focus on the future. Three weeks ago he took a major step forward and walked for the first time since the accident.

"It felt great. It felt really good. Real good. I felt free for a little while," Ruelle said.

As the recovery continues, he's making plans to work with Mothers Against Drunk Driving. He hopes that his story can help save the life of someone else.

"I don't want nobody to get killed for drinking and driving," Ruelle said.

Regarding his recovery, Ruelle said, "It's a long, rough road, and I have a long road ahead of me. But I'm going to do it. I'm going to do it."

Ruelle said he doesn't think he'll be able to go back to his former job at a construction company. He hopes to one day go back to school and get a job counseling those with drug and alcohol addiction.

Regarding the suspect, Brett Verona, he has pled not guilty to driving under the influence. He has not yet been arraigned for the other charges.

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